Anorak News | Barmy Harmy

Barmy Harmy

by | 15th, March 2004

‘ONE hopes that the person who described the England bowling attack as “the worst in living memory” is sitting down this morning to breakfast on his words.

Don’t worry, Brian, England know how it feels

Steve Harmison and the rest of the England attack certainly did a pretty good job yesterday of throwing the insults back at their critics as they bowled West Indies out for 47.

Not only was that West Indies’ lowest ever total in a Test innings, Harmison (who finished with figures of 7-12) returned the best ever figures at Sabina Park.

And before we cast too many aspersions on the quality of the West Indies’ batting, let’s remember that Brian Lara is officially the best batsman in the world, while the likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan boast healthy Test records.

The Times prefers to praise England’s attack than castigate the West Indies batting, saying they made “sensational use of the new ball and a pitch that, kept fresh by showers, had retained its pace and bounce”.

“For its consistency and unrelenting menace, Harmison’s spell brought back immediate memories of the match-winning performance by Bob Willis at Headingley in 1981,” it says.

In that instance, England bowled Australia out cheaply in the fourth innings to become the first ever team to win a Test after following on.

Yesterday, England cantered to a 10-wicket win and took a 1-0 lead in the series. West Indies, says the Times, will have to defy longish odds if it is to repeat its 2000 feat and win the series from this position.

Proving that the sports world really has turned upside down, Manchester United – for so long the benchmark of excellence in English football – yesterday slipped to an embarrassing 4-1 defeat.

It was made worse by the fact that their opponents were local rivals Manchester City and the result at Ewood Park the day before where Arsenal had won top open up a 12-point gap over their rivals.

United have a comfortable 15-point cushion over Charlton in fourth place, otherwise one might wonder about their ability even to qualify for next season’s Champions’ League.

The Guardian follows the example of the United manager in blaming his defence in what was the tenth game in a row without a clean sheet.

“Simple defending is the most effective,” the Scot said, “and we’re not defending very realistically at the moment.”

However, Alan Hansen in the Telegraph reckons it is United’s weakness in midfield that is really costing them dear.

With David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs in the middle (with Nicky Butt as an alternative, “the opposition often looked beaten before the match had even begun”.

“The lack of strength that United have in that department is killing them at the moment,” he says.

“Teams no longer fear them and City had few problems getting among them yesterday.”

It looks like the end of an era at Old Trafford.’

Posted: 15th, March 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink